Aquatic Ecosystems – Maldives

The Maldives harbour a rich biodiversity centered around its vast extent of coral reefs. Its atolls are significant because they are by far the largest group of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Coral reef coverage in the Maldives is 4,513.14 ± 225.65 km2. This includes rim and oceanic reefs (3,701.93 km2, or 82.5 percent of the total reef area), as well as patch reefs within atoll lagoons (791.92 km2, or 17.5 percent of the total reef area). Coral reef systems of the Maldives are the eighth largest in the world and approximately 5% of the world’s reef areas.

The ecosystems in Maldives includes Ocean and deep sea, coastal and reef systems, the mangroves, the wetlands and the terrestrial (island) systems. Terrestrial vegetation types : beach pioneers, littoral hedge, sub-littoral thicket, climax forest and mangrove and swamp forest. In addition, the Maldivian atoll ecosystems also have of a variety of other habitats including extensive shallow and deep lagoons, deep slopes, sandy beaches and sea grass habitats..